Louis Armstrong

~One of the most influential artists in jazz history~

Who was Louis Armstrong?

Louis Armstrong was a trumpeter, bandleader, singer, soloist, film star and comedian, who was popular in the Roaring 20’s. Born on August 4, 1901, Louis Armstrong was considered to be one of the most influential artists in jazz history. Louis struggled through a difficult childhood. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in such a poor area, that it was called “The Battlefield.” His father was a factory worker and abandoned the family soon after Louis’s birth. His mother was often busy, so Armstrong was left with his grandmother most of the time. Due to family hardships, Louis had to drop out of school in fifth grade to start work. A Jewish family, the Karnofskys, gave Armstrong a job collecting junk and delivering coal. They were a loving family who encouraged him to sing and often invited him into their home for meals. At the time, there was racial segregation, and on New Year's Eve in 1912, Armstrong fired a gun in the air during a New Year's Eve celebration and was arrested on the spot. He was then sent to the Colored Waifs Home for Boys. At the home, Armstrong got music lessons on the cornet (a brass instrument similar to the trumpet). The young boy immediately fell in love with music. This is where his career took off.

He was released from the home in 1914, and began dreaming of a life making music. He soon earned a reputation as the city’s fine blues player. One of the best cornet players in town named Joe “King” Oliver, became Louis Armstrong’s music mentor. In 1918, Armstrong married Daisy Parker, who was a very violent woman. He adopted a three-year-old boy named Clarence, who was mentally disabled from a head injury, and was taken care of by Armstrong his entire life. In the summer of 1922, he received a call from King Oliver to come to Chicago and join his Creole Jazz Band on second cornet. Louis accepted, and was taken to Chicago. He made his first recordings with Oliver on April 5, 1923, and that day, he earned his first recorded solo on "Chimes Blues." From there, Louis’s career took off and throughout his life, he made many songs. Some include ‘Wonderful World”, “Baby it’s Cold Outside”, “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and much more. He died in his sleep on July 6, 1971. Although Louis Armstrong is no longer with us, his legacy lives on.

What a wonderful world - LOUIS ARMSTRONG.
This is a video of Louis Armstrong singing one of his classic songs, "What a Wonderful World". He gets so passionate while singing, you will see his expressions constantly changing. I think this is what makes him a complete package. Not only does he have such great musical talent, but he is a good performer as well. He is confident when he sings, and adds humor to the show as well. His personality really comes through with all the expressions he makes. This song is known by many people across the nation. It's really something special when a song is still popular so many years after it was released. It is significant because it was his last hit song before he passed away. "What a Wonderful World" has been popular in America for a long time, and will always be known for many years to come.

Past vs Present

I think Marion Meadows is most like Louis Armstrong. He is a saxophonist, who has lots of rhythm to his songs, as well as a jazzy feel. They both started playing instruments and getting interested in music at a young age. Louis started with the cornet then moved on to the trumpet while Marion started with the clarinet then moved on to the saxophone. I wonder if Louis Armstrong was the one who inspired Marion Meadows?
Marion Meadows - Dressed To Chill
One of Marion Meadow's songs, "Dressed to Chill".

Did You Know...?

1. Louis Armstrong adopted his cousin's child.

2. He recorded 60 of the most influential jazz records in history- all in the span of 3 years

3. He didn't switch to the trumpet until 1926, although he is greater known for playing the trumpet than the cornet.

4. He was the first African American jazz musician to write an autobiography

5. He didn't speak out publicly on Civil Rights until he saw the Little Rock Central High School integration crisis.

6. He performed all over the world in the 50’s and 60’s.

7. He was often known as “Satchmo” or “Pops”.

8. He worked on a steamboat as a coal man then started playing in night clubs.

9. His last hit was “What a Wonderful World”

10. Louis Armstrong was not only a musician, but he also spoke out against racial discrimination.